Marathon Ms Fit, Meg Rabinowitz’s 2nd Year Journey

She’s going the distance…again! Meg Rabinowitz has been training through the harsh New England winter preparing for her second Boston Marathon (and second marathon ever!), all in support of Ocean Education for our Future Blue Planet Heroes.

Meg, all decked out and lookin' gorgeous!

Meg, all decked out and lookin’ gorgeous!

The MsFits wanted to know how this year’s training, regime and mentality towards the marathon has compared to last year’s:

Being my second time through the ropes, I felt really good about kicking things off this time around. Anyone who knows me can tell you that motivation and dedication are never in short supply – I’m all in when I put my heart into something. And when it comes to following the training plan and keeping up with all the miles it requires to prepare yourself for the 26.2 on the big day, I’m ready! I’m always up for a challenge, and not afraid to push myself to be my best. This year, I took it a step further and I set a goal to be better about meal planning and nutrition, hoping to feel good from the inside out about every aspect of the training process.

But, the biggest challenge of training in 2015 took me by total surprise, and was completely out of anyone’s control. Winter in New England hit us harder than anyone could have expected. Between January and March we were buried under 10 feet of Mother Nature’s winter rage – and that snow had a serious impact, both physically and mentally, on training. Practically every weekend in February we were preparing for one winter storm after another, each dropping multiple feet of snow at a time. It was disheartening to say the least, to look out on those sidewalks and streets I hoped to train on, knowing it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. But I marched (see: ran, trudged) on, knowing some way, some how, I needed to get those miles in if I was going to get my legs ready for Marathon Monday.

And I never gave up. I strapped a headlamp on over my winter hat and ear warmers, cleats over my running shoes, and layered up with brightly colored and reflective winter running gear and I hit the road. One weekend I was plowing (see what I did there) for 12 miles in loops around Brookline through heavily falling snow. The next weekend, out and back for 14 miles on the marathon course through storm #2. And on the pattern went for weeks. It felt like it was never ending. At times I wanted to cry, I nearly did! But I knew if I could train through a snowstorm, I could run through anything to get to that finish line on Boylston Street.

Had this been my first rodeo, I may have lost all faith in my ability to get through training. But the challenge of this winter had the opposite effect on me. I feel tougher and stronger than I ever could have imagined. It helps that my boyfriend and favorite supporter is just as enthusiastic about encouraging me on my toughest days with his ever-entertaining megaphone antics as he is in eating well and feeling good. The combination of eating right, and proper rest and recovery after each of those snowy, wet and cold runs made getting out for the next, that much more possible.

And now it’s less than two weeks until the marathon and I feel more ready than ever. Having been here at this stage this time last year, I know what to expect and I have the nerves at bay. I feel confident in my training thus far, and really happy with the mileage I’ve achieved and relatively (knock on wood) injury-free season I’ve had. I almost feel that we’ve been fortunate to have had the most testing of winter trainings, because it is making all of us marathoners that much more prepared for the big day. If we can survive winter 2015, we will truly run as one strong Boston on April 20th.

I couldn’t be doing this without the support of the MsFits and everyone who has sent me those good vibes all winter. Both the moral support and donations to my marathon fund have helped me run strong over these 18 weeks of training. The miles I’ve run and money I’ve raised to benefit the outreach education programs at the New England Aquarium wouldn’t be possible without my *team* by my side. As we say on the Aquarium Marathon Team, “Go Fish!”

So proud of you Meg!

So proud of you Meg!

 

We love that Meg could share her story for the second year in a row and hope that whether you’re running a marathon or running through the marathon we call “life,” that you can reflect on Meg’s story and keep on running like the wind!

Please help cheer Meg on on Monday and in the meantime, you can make a donation to support Meg in her marathon efforts and read her blog here.

GO FISH!!

A Little Monday Inspiration – The She. Campaign

Nicole O'Neil

Nicole O’Neil

Nicole is the co-founder, photographer, she. strength.hope.empowerment. and owner and photographer at Nicole O’Neil Photography

We love finding inspiration everywhere and in all shapes and forms. Sometimes inspiration comes from quotes, or beautiful things, or in books, movies, or sometimes it’s the girl you’ve crossed paths with at your local coffee house for the past few years. In this story, it’s the latter. We have this great coffee house Zume’s in our neighborhood, it is an off day if Alisa and I don’t end up there at least once.

And the same goes for Nicole, an amazing local photographer. We have seen her and her photos at the coffee house for years.  So we were totally thrilled when we learned that Nicole was the co-founder of a new campaign/company that we have taken HUGE notice of called, She. We had no idea that Nicole was embarking on such a wonderful new project. However, looking back it is not surprising. Most of the time that we stop into Zume’s, it’s a whirlwind of rushing and wrangling the kids, so it’s rare we can stop to have an adult conversation with anyone. But I did take notice recently of how amazing Nicole looked. It seemed she was just sunnier and brighter. And now I know why. She was working on this new inspiring company, She. We are so thrilled to share with you what She. is all about:

What is keeping you busy right now? 

Getting She. up and running, fundraising, and setting up shoots and events. I’m also continuing to run my other photography business independent of She. and balancing some health issues. When not in work mode, which is rare these days, I am busy making sure I keep yo with spending time with family and friends.

 

What are you loving in fitness and fashion right now?

Fitness: I used to spend my time doing a lot of cardio but have switched to using free weights and strength training. I’ve found my body shape has drastically changed and I’m seeing amazing results with weight loss and muscle gain that I’ve never seen before. I am not able to do anything too strenuous due to some health issues but as soon as I can, I’m excited to try barre.

Fashion: I’m not really a fashionista, though I always make sure I look my best when I leave the house even if it’s coordinating workout clothes. I am a J.Crew/Banana Republic girl. I’m loving sheath dresses and wool mini shirttail skirts. I love using pops of color.  I used to wear dark colors as a way to hide myself and try to be “slimming,” but I embrace color now. I rarely leave home without my Sam Edelman boots (which I bought in both black and brown because I loved them so much), a long Buddha necklace, and a custom “hope” necklace I had made. I also love to relax and run errands in yoga pants with my Lululemon vinyasa scarf (my staple in the winter).

How do we keep in touch and learn more about you?

I’m everywhere. My email is nicoleoneilphotography@gmail.com, our She. email is info@shecampaign.com.

You can find me on Instagram as @nicoleoneilphotography and @shecampaign.

Twitter is @she_campaign

Facebook: Nicole O’Neil Photography and She.

 

Nicole3

 

More about me and she.

At 34 years old, I am the most comfortable and confident I’ve ever been. Growing up, I had major body image and self-esteem issues. I never thought I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I had weight issues on and off throughout the years. I thought I was “fat” in high school and really wasn’t and fluctuated in my twenties. It took until my late twenties to realize I needed to start to focus on myself and learn to love who I am. I needed to let go of past traumas and past beliefs about who I was and what I “should be.” I started on that journey. I also rediscovered my passion for photography and after some urging from others, I made a go of it. Well, it turned out to be successful and I realized it was exactly what I should be doing. But, I found myself still doubting my abilities as well as my physical self. As a cheerleading coach and photographer, I saw girls and women point out all of their flaws, refuse to get in photos, and just overall not love themselves. I knew that feeling all too well. I decided I wanted to do something. We shouldn’t feel this way. We should love every part of our bodies and our lives and feel the power to change the things we don’t like if it is in our best interest and health. I did a project where I took pictures of almost 100 females, displayed them online and at a speaking program. We had speakers share their personal stories of eating disorders, self-esteem and body image issues and drug addiction. I’ve since wanted to do more, but wasn’t able to before this point.

 

I had some setbacks over that time, after I was witness to the marathon bombings. I spent a year in a place where I felt so anxious and emotional, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to really be happy again or continue to have a successful business. My body image and self-esteem issues that had started to go away came back. I gained a lot of weight and felt bad about myself all around. Once I came out of it on the other side, I started to focus completely on ME, more than ever. I realized it was the only way to full happiness and would make me a better person, friend, family member, and business owner. And it has. I have never felt as confident, or more hopeful and excited for all life has to offer. I’m in the best shape of my life and feel healthy and strong. I feel healthy and happy in my heart, mind and soul and that radiates into my business and the rest of my life. I see so many possibilities now. It is freeing and beautiful and I want all women and girls to feel this way. As I said, for years, I’ve wanted to start a movement to try and ensure girls learn at an early age to love themselves. I want girls to feel confident. I want them to realize the negative words and actions of others are not a reflection on them. I want them to not feel pressured by what society thinks they should be. I want women to look at themselves and see how amazing they are. My friend Kiera and I had the same visions and passions and one day, we sat down and came up with She., an initiative to help empower girls and women to love and embrace themselves no matter what.  This is my dream finally coming true. My hope in this beautiful life is to make a difference and inspire, so that is what I intend to do. You can read a more detailed version of “My Story” on our blog (the very first post we added). http://www.shecampaign.com

 

 

 

 

MsFit Feature: Isabelle English

Isabelle English

Living in London (for now!), Student at NYU

Isabelle

WHAT IS KEEPING YOU BUSY THESE DAYS?

Over the past few years, I have undergone a complete lifestyle makeover. I am the daughter of two gourmet chefs, so the love of food and cooking is practically in my DNA. But as a young girl going through the elementary struggles that all young girls do, this got me into trouble. I fell into poor eating habits and stopped, or rather, never began taking care of my self. I was irresponsible with how I treated my body and reckless in my decisions when it came to food and fitness and how both made me feel.

It was not until the summer before college, when I was nearing three hundred pounds, that I decided to make a change. It took immense amounts of will power, seven days a week at the gym and some serious soul searching, but soon after I began to make changes in my daily choices, the weight seemed to glide right off. Since then, I have been taking steps in not only altering my food and fitness choices, but revamping my entire way of living. This includes things as simple as understanding nutritional facts or learning to use exercise as an outlet for stress or upset. Through such mechanisms, I was able to completely reinvent my relationship to food, my relationship to fitness- and now- as I am reaching my goal weight and shape, my relationship to fashion.

As an overweight, self conscious teenager, I was unable and unwilling to express myself through my clothing. I didn’t care what I put on my body as long as it was comfortable. Now that I am able to shop at stores I love and wear and feel confident in things I never even dreamed I could, I am passionate about what I put on and how it reflects who I am.

My biggest project at the moment is my working memoir. It’s about my journey from the guarded, overweight and embarrassed adolescent I was into the confident, creative, free spirited young woman I am today. I cover almost all aspects of my life – but focus mostly on the three things I have gained from such a major lose – my positive relationship with food, my love and passion for fashion and my dedication to fitness and overall health- and, of course, how such changes have changed my entire life in the best way possible. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been – and writing it all down, and hopefully sharing it one day, it a great way to solidify my success.

WHAT ARE YOU LOVING IN FITNESS AND FASHION RIGHT NOW?

These days in fashion I am really into monochromatic looks. Whether it be an all black or navy ensemble, or a mix and match of floral or stripped prints, consistency is key. My favorite piece of clothing right now is a plum and navy floral jumper. I think one solid print or color is both chic and sophisticated- and super easy! When it comes down to it, I like to wear whatever I feel good in- and that sense of confidence, to me, makes the outfit! (I am also obsessed with high wasted skirts. That trend is timeless. Oh- and scarves! Lots and lots of scarves!)

My fitness regime, like my fashion, is constantly changing. I’ve been doing Barry’s boot-camp in London, and was obsessed with Soul Cycle in NYC. They are high energy and really make you sweat- both things I look for in a good workout. On the days when I don’t take classes, though, I run and do weight training and bosu exercises. I find that changing things up helps keep me motivated. So some days, I just go out for extremely long walks in new neighborhoods and do lunges across the street!

Isabelle2

HOW CAN WE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU?

Instagram: @izzadele

Life Isn’t a Sprint… It’s a Marathon

In our last MsFit “official meeting” (including meeting minutes being recorded on a napkin), we started talking about the Boston Marathon and the intense motivation the thousands of marathon runners must have to challenge themselves to running 26.2 miles. I mean, that’s pure motivation, drive, spirit, endurance, strength, will, bravery and passion… that’s moving two legs just one step, one pace, one mile at a time to achieve one single goal.

Motivation is an amazing force. It can take you from one place in life to somewhere you never imagined in your wildest dreams.

This really got me thinking about the role motivation plays in each of our lives. What is your motivation? Do you have any? Is it easy for you to find it or is it a constant battle? Is it to drop a few lbs. (or 60), lose an inch, run a mile (or 26.2), increase your strength, get a new job, get out of bed, get over someone or something? All goals, no matter how big or small, how easy to realize or out of this world they may seem, have to start somewhere.

For me personally, my best recipe for reaching goals is to first start with giving myself a HUGE goal, the ultimate one that I dream that I want to reach. I then take a GIANT realistic step back and say OK, I may have a lot to do, but I always remind myself that reaching that goal is a process, sometimes even years in the making. But instead of letting that discourage me, I decided the best way to keep on the path of reaching that BIG goal is to set SMALL achievable goals along the way that are a day away, a week away, a month, away… until I get there. Little “pace-points” that I put in place for myself to reach the final finish line. My guess is you might already be doing this throughout your days and don’t even realize just how great you are at motivating yourself!

Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggles and life challenges whether it be with health, family, relationships, financial standing or even depression that makes finding even an ounce of motivation near impossible. But I truly believe that life is only LIFE if you’re truly enjoying it. If you’re not, build that motivation to make a change by identifying even the tiniest steps to then bigger and bigger goals which will create more and more motivation to a more fulfilling and happy LIFE.

I think giving myself the “more instant gratification” goals, as I call them, is the key for me, because change doesn’t always happen overnight. We don’t just run a marathon our first day of running, or lose a ton of weight on our first day dieting. It is a process. BELIEVE ME, patience is not my strong point, so learning to change my perspective on “progress” was a really important factor in keeping myself on track. Progress, for me, had to become anything that I did that was a step closer to getting where I wanted to go.

To use myself as an example, one of my GIANT goals in the past 5 years, a goal so big that I was afraid I could never achieve was to become a Barre instructor. The very inklings of beginning to even think about this goal started while I was pregnant with my first child. Then life happened. I had another baby, gained almost 80 lbs. (again) and I just kept pushing it off. While I was busy being a mom and wife, taking the weight off and getting my body back by doing barre regularly… I blinked, and I was already in my mid-30’s. Where did the time go? Where did my motivation go?

Then the real obstacles started coming. The ones that kept overshadowing my great motivation… I’d think, I can’t possibly do this, become a fitness instructor, because I’m almost 36! That is WAY too old to start a career in fitness. Everyone around me had started in fitness in their early 20’s and built their careers from a very young age. I didn’t have anywhere to teach. I wasn’t certified to teach. What if no one liked my classes? Starting this late in life would mean a lot of self-promotion! Was I comfortable doing that? (turns out I am … hmm if you haven’t already …please go and like my Barre page on Facebook. Jessica Diaz Boston Barre). The list of reasons I told myself I couldn’t do this went on and on and on and on…

In the midst, of all these self-doubts, I had to remind myself that although each of my fears did have a truth and validation to them, I could choose to believe them as a fact, or give it a try and motivate myself to just do it. To begin a career doing something I loved, that I had a lot of experience doing, and felt so excited by the possibility of actually doing it and not just dreaming. I just felt it was what I was supposed to do next. I have learned to call that feeling “inspired thought”. Every so often, I get a thought or an idea, and with it just comes this “sense of knowing” that it is the right thing to do. It’s hard to know when it’s happening, but the older I get, the more I can tune out the clutter and doubt, and the better I am at recognizing it. I wish it was an easier thing to describe, but I think the best way I can describe it is that it’s a thought that instantly triggers a feelings of motivation and drive. These are the ones I wait for.

So, all I had to do was just start. My first step was to start practicing barre, even more than I already had. I gave myself two weeks to find and register for a Barre teacher training program. Then I gave myself the goal of approaching five studios about teaching Barre, while at the same time doing 5-8 personal training sessions per week to learn how to be a better teacher. I told myself I had to complete all this within my first month of becoming certified to teach and so on and so on. Small steps, every day and achievable goals until a year later, I became a Barre teacher.

I absolutely love teaching, and with all of my experiences along the way, I am able to utilize ten years of taking and continually building on my teaching skills to help create the safe and effective class that so many people enjoy today.

It was the motivation to get somewhere new that kept me moving, even when it felt uncomfortable. I believe everyone has that fear, everyone has self doubt but whether you’re trying to lose 60 lbs., talk to your boss about a promotion, start a business, just get through the day or run 26.2 miles in the Boston Marathon, it has to start somewhere.

 

There is no magic formula for finding and doing what you love. Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what that is, and once you know, I promise, the motivation will come a lot easier. Life is meant to be lived, not just “gone through”. Motivate yourself to really LIVE… even if it’s one tiny step at a time.

Photo~Lucie Wicker

Photo~Lucie Wicker

 

What’s YOUR motivation? Share with us on our Facebook or Twitter! We’d love to hear from you!